Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary, on Friday inaugurated a 37.5 million dollar Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project for the University of Ghana Distance Education programme.
The amount is a loan signed between University of Ghana and the Chinese Company, Unisplendour Software Company of Tsinghua University, Beijing, for the phase-two of the Chinese ICT project which began in 2012.
Three thousand Android tablets preloaded for level 100 students have been acquired to begin the project.
Mr Ablakwa said the project would help ease the pressure on the premier university for space in lecture halls and for other facilities.
He said the country’s education had become a pyramid with 5.4 million pupils at the basic education level, 840,000 students in secondary schools with few spaces available in the polytechnics and colleges as well as all universities.
Mr Ablakwa said only modern technology afforded government the opportunity to increase the number of students for university education and still guarantee quality adding; “we are convinced we can improve quality and work with higher numbers.”
He, therefore, urged all Distance Education students to use the facility for the right purpose.
Mr Desmond Boateng, Director, Policy Planning and Evaluation, Ministry of Communication, who read the speech on behalf of the Minister, said various facilities had been provided in all the regional learning centres of the University of Ghana that would go a long way to enhance teaching and learning.
He said the tablets which are preloaded with study materials for Distance Education students should not be seen as white elephants or status symbols but should be seen as an important tool for developing their knowledge and skills.
Mr Boateng said there was a growing tendency to abuse tools and encouraged the students to use the devices to help them acquire knowledge and not to be manipulated for anti-social activities, adding that the Ministry would continue to work with the university and assist in any way possible to ensure effective use of the investment.
He said the Ministry would continue to forge the necessary collaboration by creating a conducive environment and the needed infrastructure to improve teaching and learning.
Dr Sam Somuah, Project Manager, said the learning centres of Accra City Campus, Koforidua, Takoradi, Sunyani, Tsito, Wa and Tamale were equipped with state-of-the-art facilities with each centre provided with ultra-modern computer lab, a Smart classroom, a video conference facility backup generator and outdoor Wi-Fi for easy classroom connectivity.
He said the office of the centre organiser had been refurbished and supplied with modern office equipment and laptops for the tutors.
The various learning centres have computer labs equipped with desktop computers; Wa has 48, Tamale 72, Sunyani 58, Kumasi 68, Koforidua 48, Takoradi 56 and Tsito 54 and fiber networks have also been installed between all regional centres and the main campus, Dr Somuah said.
Ms Sun Baohong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, said since ICT access in Ghana was low, hence the Chinese Government's support to increase access to ICT for improved information sharing.
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